Chinese officials are finally admitting that the “throat-choking, eye-watering, blinding smog,” as Newser puts it, isn’t just a little afternoon fog. As officials from China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter in the world, are at the Durban summit to negotiate a binding agreement to reduce emissions, the government is also acknowledging they are facing a problem with pollution.


The top photo shows pollution in Beijing, on Dec. 5, 2011, while the bottom photo shows the same scene on a blue sky day, on August 18, 2011. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

The smog has been so bad in the last few days that a number of flights have been canceled out of Beijing International Airport, the world's second busiest hub. Out on the streets, many residents have started wearing masks. State-run media that previously complained about the recurring persistent “fog” are now acknowledging the health threats the country’s pollution presents. China’s state-run Global Times published an editorial Wednesday saying the nation needed to “face the reality... our pollution has become severe.”

While officially, Beijing's air quality is improving, the U.S. Embassy’s pollution monitor in Beijing Tuesday read “very unhealthy.” On Sunday, Bloomberg reported the pollution was so bad it was beyond the monitor's ability to measure it. Below, see video and images of the incredible smog:


A paramilitary policeman stands guard inside the Forbidden City during a heavy haze and smog night in central Beijing, Dec. 4, 2011. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Buildings in Beijing are pictured on a day with heavy haze and smog, Oct. 28, 2011. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Chinese motorists make their way along a smog filled road in Hefei, east China's Anhui province on Nov. 29, 2011. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman rides her bicycle across an intersection as a heavy haze hangs in the air in central Beijing, Dec. 6, 2011. (David Gray/Reuters)

Cars travel on the second ring road as pollution reaches what the U.S. Embassy monitoring station says are "Hazardous" levels in Beijing on Dec. 5, 2011. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks past the new China Central Television (CCTV) building amid heavy fog in Beijing, Dec. 5, 2011. (China Daily/Reuters)

A man rides a tricycle across a bridge covered in the haze in Beijing on Dec. 5, 2011. (Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

A traveller looks out at an airplane shrouded in smog while it queues to take off at Beijing International Airport on Dec. 5, 2011. (Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)

This photo taken on Dec. 4, 2011 shows a Chinese man riding a bicycle on a smoggy day in Beijing. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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